DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way, shape, or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for December 2nd of the Femslash Advent Calendar: Dead of Winter 2007 as a companion piece to my previous fic, Letting Go.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Catherine couldn't remember which she'd heard first, the radio communication saying officer down or the ring of her own mobile alerting her to a call from Brass, all she knew was that something was terribly wrong. She didn't need Jim's urgent words to tell her that Sofia was in trouble; she just knew.
"Catherine? It's Jim. I thought you needed to know "
"Where is she, Jim?"
"Um, at Cedars, but Cath "
Catherine clicked Jim's voice off before he had time to reassure her everything was fine to immediately dial Grissom's number.
"Gil! It's Sofia; I'm leaving the scene, get Warrick over here to take over. I'll keep you informed."
Grissom's eyebrows rose in consternation; he'd heard Sofia was on her way to the hospital with a minor injury, so why was Catherine in such a panic to leave a crime scene? He'd never understand Catherine's too soft side, but, since it was Catherine, he'd he picked up his case and headed out to the abandoned crime scene, calling Warrick on his way.
And now, here was Catherine, once again staring down at the woman who held a piece of her heart, only this time Sofia's strong arms weren't holding her tight, this time it was Sofia in the bed. She dropped to her knees, sobbing quietly as she rested her head on Sofia's torso, and immediately a calming hand stroked her hair.
"Catherine, please don't cry, I'm okay, honestly."
Catherine looked up, locking eyes with her partner, seeing all she needed to see.
"Yeah, but for how long? God Sofia, I was so scared; when I heard officer down, I thought this was it."
"It's only a twisted knee and a nick in my upper arm."
The anger in Catherine's voice reverberated around the room.
"This time, what if the next time you don't spin away in time? What then?"
"There won't be a next time, Cath; I promise I'm not going anywhere." Sofia's words were meant to soothe, but they only managed to fuel Catherine's anger.
"That's what she said."
Sofia pulled Catherine's head hard against her; there wasn't a damn thing she could say in answer to that statement.
Gradually, she tried again, soothing as best she could. Catherine's whispered words scared her more than she cared to analyze.
"I couldn't bear to lose you, too. I just couldn't "
If Sofia was honest with herself, since falling for the two women in her life, since having something to come home to, it was her biggest worry, too.
A quiet tap on the door drew both women's maudlin thoughts back to the present. Sofia smiled to see the large, solid presence of Warrick Brown standing in her doorway.
She beckoned him over. "Warrick?"
"Hey Sofia, Grissom told me you'd had a bit of a bust-up with a shooter." He winked and glanced down towards the still kneeling Catherine. "Said Cath might need a lift home."
"Thank you. That sounds like a wonderful idea."
Sofia pulled Catherine up towards her, kissing her tenderly on the lips. "Come on, hon. I'm okay, really. You go home with Warrick, check on Lindsay, and I'll be home before you can turn around. I promise."
"Go on. I have to wait to see the physical therapist about this knee, but there'll be no work for a few weeks, so home it is."
Catherine nodded and stood to leave. Leaning over, she rubbed her cheek against Sofia's and then accepted Warrick's hug of comfort.
Sofia smiled as the couple walked away; her smile turning to a fully-fledged grin as they reached the doorway and Catherine turned, calling out, with no hint of embarrassment, "Love you."
Catherine held on tight to Sofia. She needed to prevent her falling from the sofa, but she also just needed to ground herself; needed to know that Sofia's solid presence was real.
She snuggled deeper into Sofia's shoulder just as a light tapping noise could be heard at the front door. She sighed, but stood carefully, calling out she'd be a moment as she made sure Sofia was comfortable on the now spacious couch.
"I'm okay, Cath; you don't need to mother me, you know."
Catherine laughed; she leaned forward to whisper in Sofia's ear.
"Oh, I have no intention of mothering you. But, when we've gotten rid of this visitor, I promise you'll be wishing your mother was here."
Sofia's gasp made Catherine laugh even louder, pleased to release some of her pent-up tension.
She opened the door to see her two junior colleagues, shuffling on the threshold.
"Hey Nick, Greg. What brings you to these parts?"
It was Nick who answered. "Um, Grissom asked us to bring this over, and we wanted to see how Sofia was doing."
The laughter Catherine had been trying to suppress reared its head again as Greg flourished a small green plant from behind his back.
She indicated the watching detective and beckoned them into their home. As Greg passed by, she whispered, "So, you pulled the short straw, huh?"
Greg just smiled and handed the plant over to Sofia. Her eyes widened at the short stemmed, green succulent plant. It was just green, plain ol' green.
"I bet this was Grissom's choice."
This time four tones of laughter could be heard echoing around the room.
Nick grinned as he recounted his mentor's words. "He sends his love; says the sap from the Aloe Vera eases pain and reduces inflammation."
Sofia nodded to her knee. "I guess it'll come in handy then."
The four teammates spent an hour in friendly conversation until Greg's next words immediately spoiled the women's mood.
"Guess who called just before I left? Sara; it seems Brass called her to tell her about Sofia. She wanted to know how you were."
Catherine jumped up quickly and started pacing.
"Sara Sidle? Our Sara?"
She was so busy pacing, she failed to notice Nick's eyebrows rise at the mention of 'our' Sara or Greg's hurried signal to be quiet. Sofia watched in amusement; it appeared not everybody at the lab had been totally aware of the women's previous relationship level.
"Why didn't she call home? I just can't believe the nerve of that woman."
"Hey Cath, come here, will you? You know, Sara; she'll be in touch as soon as she can. Sit down, huh; that carpet's thin enough as it is."
Catherine looked down, startled from her racing thoughts.
Nick took the opportunity to grab Greg by his sleeve, pulling him towards the door and shouting their goodbyes as they both disappeared from view, closing the door in their wake. Neither woman seemed to take notice, their focus solely on Sara.
"How could she, Sofe?"
Catherine's voice was sad as she looked over towards the couch.
"I don't know, love, I don't know." And Sofia didn't know; she was just willing to wait it out. She had Catherine here, and for the moment, that was enough.
"Come here, you; I believe you have a promise to honour."
"Jesus fucking Christ."
Catherine looked up from her endeavours; knowing the right moment wasn't quite here. She took the time to ensure Sofia's knee was still cushioned safely on two very flexible pillows, and then, hearing Sofia's moan of encouragement, continued her work.
It had been six months since Sara had departed their home, and the two women had taken the time to completely find each other. Catherine knew exactly when and how to play her trump card.
"Sweet mother of God. MOTHER!"
Catherine might know how to get the words from Sofia's lips, but she still hadn't worked out exactly why her lover always, always shouted out Mother as she came. She grinned as she crawled up Sofia's body to snuggle in close.
"I'm gonna find out one day why you call for Lorraine right at that point."
"I don't," was Sofia's weak but indignant answer.
"Oh yes, you do."
"I do not."
Catherine refused to argue the point; she knew what she heard.
"Hmm, think I'll ask Lorraine why it is over Christmas Dinner."
Sofia bodily pulled Catherine on top of her, "You do and I'll I'll I'll "
"Yes. You'll what?"
"I'll do this." Sofia kissed Catherine with all the strength she could muster and then pulled away to whisper. "And then some um, if my knee recovers."
The two women smiled at each other.
"You and whose army, huh?" teased Catherine.
Sofia was about to retaliate further, but this time, they were interrupted by the telephone.
"Let it go to the machine, Cat," moaned Sofia.
Catherine looked at Sofia; in all their months together that was the first time she had called Catherine by Sara's preferred name for her. It seemed she wasn't the only one missing Sara more than a little; wasn't the only one with Sara on her mind. She sighed; it was a discussion that would have to wait.
"I can't, hon, what if it's Linds?"
Catherine reached for the phone and answered gruffly.
Sofia watched as the colour drained from Catherine's face and tears immediately formed in the corner of her eyes. The soft gasp and the shake of her head told Sofia exactly who was on the other end of the line.
Grasping Catherine's hand tightly, she drew Catherine and the receiver down so they could both listen to the voice. Sofia held Catherine tight as she answered.
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